Consultant, Advanced Group Facilitation course 2018
After a long period working in the public service and community sector, I’ve been consulting for the last few years. I’m lucky to have work come to me, and I’ll often do shortish employment contracts along the way. The ability to combine self-directed consultancy work alongside structured traditional employment works like magic for me – I love to pick and choose the work that I like, combined with the rigour of traditional workplaces. Lucky me! I mostly work in disability policy and elder abuse, but I’ll give anything a go.
One of my roles was working in state government in policy for ‘therapeutic justice’, which is a fancy way of saying approaches to justice that are less punitive, address the reasons for offending, and offer solutions that prevent recidivism and involve community. Through this work I noticed that unless the justice program was specifically for people with disability, they were often locked out of therapeutic justice programs as it was too hard to build an inclusive approach.
This was the driver for me in 2018 to undertake Groupwork Centre’s Advanced Group Facilitation course. I saw that facilitation was a way to break down the barriers for inclusion in mainstream systems. Also, as a consultant, I was looking for a skill set that can be used throughout my career and to future proof employability. Facilitation seemed to fit as a good option as robots can’t facilitate. Yet.
I’m currently working on a great facilitation program that works with a group of people with significant disability who have been funded by NDIS to develop a consumer voice and get greater outcomes from providers. They have all moved from aged care or group homes into new apartments that meet their support needs. Every resident uses a wheelchair, some people’s communication challenges means that they communicate using a yes or no response, others use communication devices, and some people do not have access to either fine or gross motor skills.
I work with a fellow facilitator, and it’s tough going sometimes to even devise an ice breaker that is accessible for everyone. I rely heavily on my Groupwork Centre training, and at the end of the day’s reflection I might not have facilitated perfectly, but I always know why it went wrong!
While this facilitation is an unusual one, disability and illness is commonplace, and as a society we aren’t good at making sure that everyone can access services, and I think that applies to facilitation too. I’m keen to engage with others in the Groupwork Centre Community to drive conversations about disability and facilitation further, to ensure that all facilitators are confident to include disability in their practice. There’s a lot we can learn from our facilitator peers who I know are already doing amazing work.